Friday, December 19, 2014

The Cuba Opening

President Obama has moved to "normalize" relations with Cuba.  This is a good idea.

But, in a bold admission, the Obama administration admitted frankly that sanctions have done no good in Cuba.  They have not only done no good in Cuba, but are doing no good in Iran or Russia as well.  Sanctions are a poor substitute for a serious foreign policy.  Sanctions are easy to violate and usually constitute a very loud admission of weakness by those imposing the sanctions.  So let's end sanctions -- in Cuba, Iran and Russia.

Trade with Cuba, a tiny country with less than 12 million inhabitants and a pygmy per capita income (variously estimated between $ 7,000 and $ 18,000 per capita), is not going to move anyone's needle.  But trade is almost by definition a win for everyone.  So, we should not only deal diplomatically with Cuba, we should trade freely with this small island nation.

Trade restrictions always have unintended consequences. We should have no trade restrictions, excepting products that are directly related to national security concerns.  Letting Coca Cola and McDonalds operate in Cuba, Iran and Russia makes good sense and should not be prohibited.

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